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Sunday, February 28, 2010

CJ Leslie: Julius Hodge Has A Message For You (On Twitter)


Lest you ever start to think Julius Hodge's love for N.C. State has waned any in the years following his graduation, he's put that to rest in the last week or so with some timely tweets.

Regarding incoming stud point guard prospect Ryan Harrow:
I just saw the Ryan Harrow youtube mix...WOOOWWW! Yes very fine days ahead Wolfpack Fans! Forreal I still can't jump like that!N I'm 6'7!
His latest Tweet crusade? Landing Raleigh's CJ Leslie at State this spring. The day after his Harrow tweet, he had this to say:
where do "I" have to travel to convince CJ Leslie NC STATE is home?? we gotta get this kid PackNation!
He then followed that up with a flurry of four tweets tonight on what State had that appealed to him (with a nice dig at Matt Doherty thrown in for good measure):
You know what was the deciding point for me to go to State..besides the coaching, warm atmosphere, and Matt Doherty coming in lol..no but


Seriously..it was being able to start my own LEGACY. I had prestige programs and was offered EVERYTHING! But u can't buy what I wanted..


Only thing that would have made it icing on da cake is having my family within minutes away(CJ;)and having JP stay his junior year(dammit! )


Get back on board baby.. Believe me you won't be this loved/appreciated by the "people/fans"anywhr else I promise you that! Am I right?
Jules, I think I speak for Wolfpack Nation when I say this: Whenever you get done banking those Aussie dollars, the Pack has a place for you SOMEWHERE in the organization as a recruiting coordinator. I'm sure Sid would love to put you to work on the recruiting trails.

One final tweet, regarding his daughter:
Today I asked my daughter was she hungry and she replied" when I hungry I eat daddy" HAHAHAHA I couldn't have said it better myself!! lol!
Like father, like daughter...

View the complete entry of "CJ Leslie: Julius Hodge Has A Message For You (On Twitter)"

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Red-Hot Pack On Two-Game Winning Streak



Ok, so the title was a little tongue-in-cheek.

Nevertheless, State wins its second ACC game in a row, the first time State's won back-to-back conference games this season. That brings them to four conference wins, deadlocking the bottom of the conference in a three-way tie for 10th (Miami and UNC).

The win ensures that State, at 16-13, can finish no worse than .500 before postseason bids are handed out, and if the Pack can win one more game between now and the end of the ACC Tournament, a .500 record is guaranteed for the year. Not great, but better than most predicted this team to achieve this season.

As for the game itself, State rallied from a nine-point second-half deficit to claim the victory. CJ Williams played another solid game, Tracy Smith was his normal team-carrying self and despite some bad free throw shooting most of the game, the team hit the ones that counted down the stretch.

The Pack now heads to Cassel to take on an exhausted VT team coming off a double-overtime thriller against Maryland. The Pack may be catching the sagging Hokies at just the right time. VT will be desperate, however, trying to cling to its hopes of making the NCAA tournament.

With Boston College heading to Raleigh to wrap up the season, it's not ENTIRELY out of the question for the Pack to end the regular season on a four-game winning streak. Do that, then make some noise in the ACC Tournament and NIT...suddenly, 2010-2011 wouldn't be able to get here fast enough.

View the complete entry of "Red-Hot Pack On Two-Game Winning Streak"

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Misery Loves Company...


So, how bad is it in Tar Heel land? Check out these portions of the opening post on the FSU game thread:

To "Drummy," first off, good call on reminding everyone right off the bat the Heels won the National Title last year. It's a valiant effort on your part. However, I'm guessing by the tone of the following phrase, "* PROFANITY OF ANY KIND (INCLUDING VEILED PROFANITY) WILL NOT BE TOLERATED AND IS GROUNDS FOR BANNING.
* PLAYER ATTACKS OF ANY KIND WILL NOT BE TOLERATED AND ARE GROUNDS FOR BANNING," conjuring happy thoughts of last season isn't getting the job done at the moment.

Remember...positive posts ONLY. And absolutely [...pause...] no meltdowns. After all, the mods are in a banning mood (judging from the all caps) and are just looking to break their backspace key off in someone.

Not trying to pile on, Heels fans, but it's worth reminding everyone outside of the message board world that yes, even Carolina has message board wackos. Apparently, LOTS of them. And they've been very vocal lately. Very, very vocal.

View the complete entry of "Misery Loves Company..."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Finishing Strong


After a disappointing season, it goes without saying that this stretch run of Miami, BC and Virginia Tech is critical.

There are several reasons why, of course.

One, you need to set a positive tone for next season. Every team wants to close strong, but for Sidney Lowe heading into year five after three disappointing seasons, setting the table for next year will be critical.

Two, the NIT is still in play at this point. Finishing with a 2-1 or 3-0 mark would ensure a winning record regardless of what happens in the ACC Tournament, meaning the Pack would be eligible for an NIT bid. Given where State was during the seven-game losing streak, postseason play is a nice goal for this team to shoot for.

And finally, I believe the team needs it. They've heard for so long now, "Just wait until next year when Harrow and Brown get here." If I'm a guy suiting up, I'm encouraged that there's help on the way, but I want to conclude the season in a way that doesn't feel like the year was wasted, spent biding time until the reinforcements come.

There aren't many preseason goals left that can be accomplished, but if I'm Dennis Horner or Farnold Degand, I want to feel like we still set the table for a dramatic improvement the following year. Winning two or three of these final conference games will likely ensure the Pack finishes out of dead last where the media projected the Pack to finish. That secures a place in the ACC/Big 10 challenge next season, which is a modest goal but one worth striving for.

Earlier this month, I posted a picture of an envelope, stating I felt like the team was just mailing it in. But I was wrong; they're still fighting, and the win against Wake is proof of that.

If the Pack can take down Miami and BC in winnable games, and maybe steal one on the road against Virginia Tech, the tone of the season will take a decided turn toward the positive.

View the complete entry of "Finishing Strong"

Sunday, February 21, 2010

So I Head To Atlanta And This Is What Happens? State 68, Wake 54


Maybe I should take off for Atlanta more often. Or maybe State needs to face more ranked conference opponents.

After all, State's three conference wins this season have all come against teams ranked in the top 25 at the time. Perhaps Sid can slip a few greenbacks to the guys in the producer truck next game to slap up a faux number beside our opponent's name. Maybe that'll fire the guys up.

In a game that looked to be unfolding too similar to the Maryland game for anyone's taste (another 10-point lead at the half), State did what it could not do the game prior and closed the deal this time.

C.J. Williams played out of his mind Saturday, pouring in timely threes but also contributing with some key blocks on the defensive end, including a nice stuff against three-inch-taller Al Faruq Aminu.

Farnold Degand chipped in with two monster threes right when Wake was making their push.

Wake had cut it to seven with 6:21 to go on a L.D. Williams free throw but missed the second, and after snagging the miss, Dennis Horner found Degand for a look at the top of the key that Farnold drained. Following the aforementioned block on Aminu, C.J. found Javier Gonzalez for a three to push the lead to 13. Wake scored on the following possession, but Farnold dropped the second dagger in response to score points 55, 56 and 57, all State would need for the night.

It's tough to look past the rebounding numbers and not see all the warts...at one point in the game, the Deacs had more offensive rebounds than State had total.

But maybe Sidney's right...it really is simple when guys actually make their open shots. The Pack hit five of their seven three-point attempts in the second half and shot 52% overall in the back frame when it mattered. This, against a good defensive team in Wake that typically makes it tough on perimeter shooters.

Ironically, Wake Forest didn't hit a single three, just 10 days after State pulled off the same dubious feat against Virginia Tech.

It wasn't all shooting, though. State turned the Deacs over a ton, too. While Wake got back a lot of their misses, they still had a great deal of empty possessions. Wake turned the ball over 15 times in the first half alone, and finished the game with 23 to State's 15.

Another solid win to go along with a fistful of tough losses in a baffling season thus far. The good news? With games against Miami, Boston College and Virginia Tech, State still has a decent chance to make a play for the NIT, which--had you offered it last week--most State fans would've leapt at.

View the complete entry of "So I Head To Atlanta And This Is What Happens? State 68, Wake 54"

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

LiveBlog in Triplicate!


View the complete entry of "LiveBlog in Triplicate!"

Chancellor Randy Meet-n-Greet To Be Broadcast Online Today At 4:30


For those unable to attend the event held today at Reynolds at 4:30, State's website will be broadcasting the event online.

This will be your opportunity to see Chancellor Woodson presumably field some questions from average State alums.

Edit: There are cheerleaders and dance team girls on the stage...this will probably NOT be a standard meet-n-greet.

View the complete entry of "Chancellor Randy Meet-n-Greet To Be Broadcast Online Today At 4:30"

Sunday, February 14, 2010

An Open Letter To Pack Fans From Ryan Harrow


This appeared on the PackPride message boards today. I'm still processing how I feel about it--the wisdom of an incoming recruit airing these thoughts publicly. Nevertheless, he wants this put out to the masses for consumption, so might as well share it here, too:
To all my Wolfpack fans, I want to say thank you for all the support and faith that y'all have in Lorenzo and I. We are very excited to be coming to such a highly-regarded school. Lorenzo and I have talked about playing basketball at NC State together and with the rest of the players that will be there for a long time. We are looking to come in and make the team better by the hard work we put in before practice, during practice, and after. We have winner mentalities and hopefully that will rub off on the players that are in a slump this season.

Me personally, I have always been excited about coming to NC State ever since coach Monte Towe and Coach Lowe walked into my high school gym my freshman year. Coach Lowe believed in me when a lot of coaches thought I didn't have what it takes. Sad on those coaches behalf haha. Now I am what I am and I'm sticking beside Coach Lowe because of the loyalty he showed me. I feel if a person treats you with that much respect and has that much faith, then I must show that same courtesy back.

Myself and Lorenzo are on NC State's blogs and forums everyday and we look to see all the support you give us, but now a days we see so much negative and it has become really discomforting to my godbrother and I. The things that are said about the fans giving up and not wanting to show the support like I know y'all can. I was at the Duke game. Our fans can get crazy lol. Those statements matter to me. I came to the school at first solely for Coach Lowe but when I come to see games and people are greeting me, saying " thank you so much for joining us", it made me realize I love the atmosphere too. These fans can get better. I hate going on the forums reading those things.

Also Lorenzo and I see the statements about coach Lowe and it really makes me think, "what am I getting myself into". Coach Lowe works hard and is very passionate about the game. He just needs people and players around him like Lorenzo, Luke, C.J., and me to transpire that fire onto the court. Every bad game we cannot criticize coach Lowe. It comes down to the players performing on the court. I know Coach Lowe is going to help my game and make me the best point guard I can be. But it will come in time.

The 2010 class will be a great one, especially adding to the players that's already at the school. We will get better as the year goes on. But y'all have to remember, even though I think myself and Lorenzo are two of the best guards out there in the nation, we are coming into a new experience so we have to learn a little first. So if we don't get the results y'all want right away, plz don't give up on supporting the team and don't say we need to fire the coach. We are going to be a great team and one of the best teams to come through NC State. It just takes time. I hope Lorenzo and I have not offended anybody and would hope that y'all understand where we are coming from. My family and Lorenzo's family are Wolfpack until we die now, but we need support and comfort. Thank you and Go STATE!

--Ryan Harrow

View the complete entry of "An Open Letter To Pack Fans From Ryan Harrow"

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Operation Purge Fowler


First off, I'm not going to bother putting together a Carolina postgame post. It's not worth it. Everything I'd say has already been said 1,000 times before already and I'd just be repeating myself.

This post is a call to arms.

This is to get you, the loyal Wolfpack supporter who cuts a hefty donation check to the Wolfpack Club every year, to do what you can to usher out Lee Fowler from the AD's office. Now is the time it needs to happen.

Today's game convinced me that the infusion of Ryan Harrow and Lorenzo Brown will likely not be enough to save Sidney Lowe's job next season. They can't improve State's atrocious defensive numbers, nor can they turn State into a better rebounding team. Until those issues are resolved -- and I've seen nothing over the last four years to convince me they suddenly will in year five -- simply adding Harrow and Brown won't instantly turn a bottom-feeder into an NCAA-caliber squad.

I so badly want Lowe -- a proud alum who loves this university and understands where this program has been and can be -- to turn things around and get it done. But if, after five years and with a 5-star backcourt, the Pack still misses the NCAA tournament, the only logical choice is to move in another direction. And with the way Lowe's hiring went down in '06, there is NO WAY Lee Fowler should be allowed to conduct it.


Further, State's Board of Trustees cannot be tasked with hiring an AD concurrently with a basketball coach.

Or a football coach. Let's not forget that Tom O'Brien (another Fowler hire) has yet to post a winning football record at State after three seasons, also. There's a chance that, after a disastrous year four, O'Brien could be staring at a justified pink slip, as well.

With that in mind, the time is NOW to replace Fowler with a new AD. A competent one who insists on accountability and results. One who's not intimidated by the Blue Bellies up the road, nor tells his constituents that daring to compete with them is a pipe dream.

So here's your call to action: You need to decrease your giving to the lowest level possible. Donate what you can to keep your WPC accounts active and to maintain your LTRs, but no more. Not one cent more. Most importantly, TELL YOUR WPC REP WHY YOU'RE DECREASING YOUR GIVING. Simply pulling the plug on the cash flow may have an impact, but if you make it clear to the WPC WHY you refuse to give more than the minimum, the impact will be much greater.

Do the same for your academic donations. Cease them, and tell whoever will listen why.

The only thing this leadership of this university seems to respond to is money. The big donors seemingly have have the ears of Fowler, the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees. So hit the admins where it hurts...the coffers. When it's clear that you're taking your money OUT of their hands when you'd rather gladly put it IN their hands, you'll get their attention. A few hundred or few thousand donors -- no matter your giving level -- refusing to give because of displeasure with the AD will make an impact, I promise you.

This is a change that needs to occur now, not next December or February or March. By then it may be too late. By then we may be looking for a new football or basketball coach and faced with the prospect of Lee heading up the search, or a delayed search due to a vacant AD office one year too late. And that's not something this program can suffer through again.

View the complete entry of "Operation Purge Fowler"

Friday, February 12, 2010

It's Carolina/State This Weekend For All The (Leftover) Marbles


The really sucky ones that are chipped that nobody wants.

Yeah, this is the second meeting between State and Carolina this year, and if it's possible, there's even LESS interest in this game than the previous go-round in Raleigh.

In January we knew Carolina was struggling, but State's win over Duke was still fresh enough in everyone's memories to give hope that the Heels could be beaten.

After losing that game--and every conference game since--the wheels have come off and the team that once showed fight and grit and hustle is now taking poor shots, standing around on offense and giving up easy buckets on defense.

So both teams, State and Carolina, enter this game with a "well, let's just get this over with" mentality. Could this be the first time NEITHER teams' fanbases care to attend this game? Could the Dean Dome be half-filled for this one? It's possible, especially given the weather.

If State wins tomorrow, that's great. Anytime you can beat Carolina it's a plus, and it would help pad Sidney's lousy record against the Heels (1 win so far). But just about everybody on both sides of this once-great war have checked out, including seemingly some of the players.

Tip is at 4:00, for those that care.

View the complete entry of "It's Carolina/State This Weekend For All The (Leftover) Marbles"

Monday, February 8, 2010

Per Rivals, LB Coach Andy McCullom Heading To Ga. Tech


Not hiring Paul Johnson when we had the chance...the gift that keeps on giving.

State's defense sucked out loud last season, but by most accounts, the strength of the defensive coaching staff was McCullom. Not only was a great linebackers coach, he really helped mine the state of Georgia for talent.

Now the Pack must look to replace a talented coach and tremendous recruiter...one who now has an office down 85 in Atlanta, going head-to-head against the Pack on the recruiting trail.

View the complete entry of "Per Rivals, LB Coach Andy McCullom Heading To Ga. Tech"

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Georgia Tech LiveBlog!


View the complete entry of "Georgia Tech LiveBlog!"

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Virginia Recap


Points 47 59
FG Att 48 54
FG Made 18 22
FG Pct 37.5 40.7
FT Att 16 13
FT Made 9 9
FT Pct 56.3 69.2
3pt FG Att 11 16
3pt FG Made 2 6
3pt FG Pct 18.2 37.5
Rebounds 30 40
Off Rebs 9 13
Def Rebs 21 27
Team Rebs 4 6
Assists 6 14
Steals 4 5
Blocks 4 1
Turnovers 7 8
Fouls 17 19

It pains me to say the following, but right now it's how I see it. I've been one of the last hold outs to say so, and I may be someday proven wrong along with everyone else. Still...

Sidney Lowe is losing me as a believer.

It happened tonight in the second half. It's not THAT we lost, but HOW we lost. Disjointed offensive possessions, which led to poor shot selection, which eventually led to a complete offensive breakdown in a game that was entirely within reach. The team looked like a bunch of guys playing ball at the Y. There was ZERO leadership on the court.

Now I'm starting to believe that there's a leadership vacuum on the bench, as well. The team just did not respond to any presumed coaching the staff tried. Then again, State got back on the bus with two more timeouts left, so perhaps Sidney plans to burn those coaching in practice this week when there's not as much distracting activity going on around them. Like, you know, screaming opposing fans or meddling officials.

Worst of all, though: this team QUIT tonight. Without about 6:00 minutes to go, in the midst of another scoring drought that's become a pattern of late, this team rolled over and started playing street ball.

Scott Wood has no confidence in his shot. Javier Gonzalez plays hard about 40% of the time he's on the court. The offense is simply pass it around the perimeter and try to get it into Tracy. There's little motion through the paint, and most of the times the perimeter folks seem unwilling to shoot when the ball gets kicked back out to them. I didn't see anything on the court tonight that made me think, "When Ryan Harrow and Lorenzo Brown get here next year, all these issues will be fixed." I instead thought, "Damn, these five-star guards are going to hate playing in THIS mess."

After two years of using the team chemistry excuse to explain away ineffectiveness, now I have to wonder what's the last refuge Sidney has before all the fingers start pointing his way? After such an inspiring win at home against Duke, this team has completely fallen apart. What should have turned into a bump for a team that was winning good games and losing close ones, the Duke game is a mere memory now of what this team is capable of and a reminder that this team is currently falling far short of that.

There are still eight conference games left. There's time for this team to regain its footing. But this stretch of games (Maryland, UNC and Virginia) may be the one we look back at when we ask ourselves, "Where was the crossroads where it went south for good?"

As it is now, Sidney--for the first time in his tenure--has to win me back into his corner if I'm to believe he can be the answer for State long-term.

View the complete entry of "Virginia Recap"

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Talent Usage Rating: Quantifying The Amount Of Talent On The Floor


We often hear folks say, "this team is more talented than ours..."

But just how much more talent? More importantly--how much of this talent is actually making its way onto the hardwood?

A bench full of 5-star talent that never sees the floor ultimately doesn't have any impact the outcome of a game. That makes it mighty tough to use the "more talented" argument.

So, in an effort to help quantify just how much talent each team is bringing to bear each game, I've put together a spreadsheet featuring the "Talent Usage Rating," a formula that is a cumulative of a team's player's minutes divided by 200, multiplied by their average recruiting ranking.

In other words, a team's Talent Usage Rating = (Player A's Avg Rating * (Avg Mins Played/200)) + (Player B's Avg Rating * (Avg Mins Played/200)) + etc.;

Here the spreadsheet (factoring in games as of Monday evening):

A couple of things to note about the numbers:
  • The average minutes played for each player is calculated by taking their total minutes played divided by the total number of games played by the team. Doing so eliminates the possibility of a player's average minute stats being inflated by not playing in one or more games.
  • The average star rating for every player is determined by averaging the Scout and Rivals rankings. There are more ranking services out there, but these two are the most respected. Though there was some difference in the rating of certain players, for the most part both sites agreed on the star ratings of most players, and there was never more than a one-star difference for any player.
  • Players that did not show up on the Scout or Rivals sites or were listed as "NR" were given 1-star ratings.
As you can see, a team simply having the highest average star rating doesn't necessarily mean they have more talent on the floor than the next guy. Florid State's TUR is nearly 2% higher than Carolina's, despite the fact that UNC's roster averages a nearly 4% higher star rating per player. In other words, while FSU's overall talent level on the roster may be behind Carolina's, they put more of their higher-rated players out on the floor for more significant minutes. So when the Heels face off against the Noles on February 24th, don't assume that the Heels have a talent advantage on the court.

With the 11th-worst TUR and 10th-worst overall average roster star rating, Virginia is clearly getting the most "bang for their buck." They have talent where they need it (Sylven Landesberg) and are getting great contributions elsewhere from lower-rated players.

On the flip side, the Tar Heels are clearly under-performing relative to their TUR, but that's no new news to the entire college basketball community.

For those that want to see the entire breakdown of each roster that led to the rating calculations, here's the complete spreadsheet:

View the complete entry of "Talent Usage Rating: Quantifying The Amount Of Talent On The Floor"

Monday, February 1, 2010

ACCSports.com Look At State's Recruiting Class


Things haven't been finalized at this point, of course...life in the fast lane can lead to some signing day surprises. However, most of State's recruiting class is in place by now, and the folks at ACCSports.com have given us a pretty good rundown of the class to this point:
N.C. State Recruiting Storylines:

  • This should be the first recruiting cycle since 2006 that N.C. State has not signed 25 or more players. In what turned out to be Chuck Amato’s final class at head coach of the Wolfpack back in 2006, they took the same number of prospects (20) that NCSU has taken this year. The Wolfpack had 25 signees in 2007, 26 signees in 2008, and 27 signees in 2009.

  • NCSU enjoyed as much recruiting success in the state of North Carolina as anyone in this year’s cycle, landing three of the top six players in the Rivals.com state rankings - Rob Crisp of Raleigh Athens Drive (No. 2), Anthony Creecy of Southern Durham (No. 5), and David Amerson of Greensboro Dudley (No. 6). In all, the Wolfpack have five prospects in the top 20, Fre’Shad Hunter of Cary (No. 11) and Tyler Brosius of Waynesville Tuscola (No. 20).

  • Georgia was once again a kind place for the Wolfpack this year, as N.C. State landed six players from the Peach State. This marks the third straight recruiting cycle under O’Brien in which the Wolfpack have signed at least four prospects from Georgia. In 2009 N.C. State got a whopping seven prospects out of the Peach State, which means that the Wolfpack have signed a total of 13 players from Georgia in the last two recruiting cycles alone.

  • Offensive tackle Rob Crisp is the first five-star prospect in the Rivals.com rankings to sign with the Wolfpack since DeMario Pressley of Greensboro (N.C.) Dudley back in 2004. The No. 2 prospect in North Carolina and the No. 13 prospect in the Rivals 100, Crisp committed to N.C. State in early April. He pledged to the Wolfpack the same day as his good friend Peter Singer, who also happens to be the son of Crisp’s guardian.

View the complete entry of "ACCSports.com Look At State's Recruiting Class"